Budget 2020: The Wheel Calls for Increased Spending Allocations for Charities to Ensure Their Viability
The Wheel has called on the Minister for Finance to increase spending allocations in the coming budget for charities, community groups and social enterprises to ensure their continued viability and survival in the context of a no-deal Brexit.
The call comes as The Wheel today convened a large gathering in Dublin from its over 1,600 members to discuss the potential consequences for their service users if, as anticipated, the Government proceeds with plans to prepare the forthcoming budget on the basis that there will be a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. Speaking at the gathering, representative of a number charities warned that the Government’s plans to curb spending in Budget 2020, coupled with rising administrative and insurance costs, and a failure to reverse funding cuts introduced during the recession, carries a substantial human cost for their service users.
Ivan Cooper, Director of Public Policy of The Wheel, said, “The Government should consider how allocations in Budget 2020 will affect the day to day lives of the most vulnerable in society. These are not abstract figures, confined to a spreadsheet, they are living people who required supports that are most often provided by community and voluntary organisations, and not the state.”
Eamon Teague, Director of Residential Services at the charity WALK said, “From 2009 we have received no payments for staff increments or pension payments, and since 2008 we have suffered from cumulative cuts of €3.2m to our core funding. This at a time when the mounting costs of regulatory registration and compliance and the rising costs of insurance have added almost half-a-million Euro to our expenditure base. There is such a thing as stretching something so thin that it tears.”
On the issue of rising insurance costs, Mr Cooper said that nearly half of community and voluntary groups have already reduced their activities, and hundreds may close unless Government intervenes, “As a first step we urge Government to fund the Garda response to fraudulent claims from the reserves of the Personal Injuries Board, and prioritise the establishment of a judicial council with the power to recalibrate compensation guidelines for personal injury.”
Mr Cooper added that funds for charity’s core work could be radically increased if Government streamlined regulatory and funding-related compliance requirements and provide for the costs of compliance. The Wheel also called on the Government to introduce multi-annual (three-year) funding arrangements as the default approach to facilitate better services, enable long-term planning and assist effective staff recruitment and retention.
Marian Quinn, Chair of the Prevention and Early Intervention Network (PEIN) said, “The ongoing insecurity of funding creates great difficulty for organisations providing services for children in relation to a whole range of factors: high staff turnover, disrupted service delivery, resources required for repeated recruitment processes, frequent and repetitive funding applications and reporting - all divert attention, skills and precious time away from doing the work which we are funded to do."
The Wheel called on the Government to fund services and supports on a full-cost-recovery basis, taking into account the need for organisa¬tions to fund core-costs.
Jacquie Horan, CEO of COPE Galway spoke about the needs of communities, “Our message to our government in its Budget 2020 is to recognise and support the core of our work to enable us not only to fulfil our community mandate, but to reach out further and further into our communities and to achieve so much more. We have the capacity, the will, and the support of our communities to do this. But we need our government to design a funding model that recognises the importance of funding the core functions of an organisation, in order to leverage its full potential and to offer the best possible services and supports to improve people’s lives.”
Mr Cooper concluded, “A budget that fails to look past the numbers and into the real lives of communities all over Ireland is a failure to all those who need us most. We need the Government to equip us with the mechanisms to increase efficiency and effectiveness as we are the sector at the front line of the many crisis affecting Ireland at this time. In the event of a no-deal Brexit rural and marginalised communities will be heavily impacted. The budget must ensure that organisations working in the charity, community and voluntary and social enterprise sector have sufficient funds to continue to provide crucial supports.”
Associated Media Coverage
25 September, Irish Examiner: coverage of The Wheel's Budget 2020 campaign event - read more
25 September, Virgin Media News: coverage of The Wheel's Budget 2020 campaign event - read more